Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:
Thank you for your attention to last Thursday’s announcement and this week’s follow-up instructions regarding Baylor’s mandatory COVID-19 testing program in preparation for the fall semester. We anticipated that such significant news would generate a lot of questions. I strongly encourage you to closely review the frequently asked questions at baylor.edu/coronavirus that continue to be updated based on your feedback, as well as view the instructional video from our testing partner prior to the arrival of your test kit.
Once you’ve completed and mailed your COVID-19 test, we request that you wear face coverings, practice social distancing and hand sanitizing, and avoid large groups and gatherings prior to coming to Waco or our other campuses. These tests are simply one of the many preventive strategies we’re implementing for a safe and healthy on-campus start and completion of the fall semester.
While we continue to prioritize face-to-face and hybrid classroom instruction for the fall, we have many students who have requested a fully online class schedule. We are working to accommodate these requests in the weeks ahead. The deadline for submitting your online instruction interest form is this Sunday, Aug. 2.
Some additional news to share for this week ...
- Each of us has a personal responsibility to make decisions that place the health and well-being of all members of the Baylor Family as our highest priority. At Baylor, we wear face coverings for each other and not just for ourselves. Our face covering policy is a vital part of our many COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Beginning next week, we will spotlight many other ways in which we are preparing our campus for a return of students, faculty and staff over the next several weeks.
- In just a few days, 160 Community Leaders (CL) will be arriving back on campus and moving into our 18 residence halls to help prepare students’ homes for the fall. Upon arrival, the CLs will have two weeks of training and building preparation before shifting their focus to welcoming students back to campus and introducing new students to campus life. Throughout the semester the CLs will foster community and cultivate relationships, mentor residents and facilitate learning through efforts that integrate aspects of faith development, academics and relationships.
- Baylor’s A Cappella Choir, directed by Brian A. Schmidt, D.M.A., associate professor of choral music and director of graduate choral studies in the School of Music, has been announced as the winner of The American Prize in the Collegiate Choral Division for 2020. The American Prize is the nation’s most comprehensive series of contests in the classical arts and is designed to evaluate, recognize and reward the country’s best performers, ensembles and composers based on submitted recordings. For nearly 90 years, Baylor’s choral program – including the flagship A Cappella Choir – has established a tradition of leadership in choral music in major concert venues across the nation and abroad.
- I’ve previously shared with you our institutional commitment to increasing voter registration and participation among the Baylor Family. Today, our Bears, Joy and Lady, are launching an awareness campaign titled “The Future is Ours to Bear” to provide a fun way to encourage our community to get involved. The nonpartisan initiative will provide helpful resources leading up to the 2020 election to inspire the entire Baylor Family to register to vote, educate ourselves on candidates and issues, get involved through voter registration drives, and, most importantly, to vote. Check out the official campaign website at JoyandLady2020.com.
Like many of you, I am quite anxious for the start of the fall semester. I’ve become quite fond of paddle-boarding on the Brazos River with First Daughter Shelby – it’s my escape from calls, texts, emails and tweets. Plus, I get to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation here in Waco!
Praying for you daily,
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.